The Value of Reflecting

Can you believe that it’s almost the end of the school year?  I’m sure some of you are already out of school!  Here in NJ, we have about 2-2.5 weeks left this year and then it’s summer!  But summer doesn’t mean no work.  I will be spending a good portion of the summer reflecting on my first year teaching high school English, going over what worked and what didn’t.  I have been jotting down notes all year, what I want to do differently and what I want to continue next year.

It’s important to reflect on our teaching.  No one should be teaching the same lessons, year in and year out, without change.  Students change, times change, technology changes.  As teachers, we need to evolve, too.  My department spent a few days earlier this year beginning to align our curriculum with the Common Core standards.  We were pretty well aligned but just needed to work on the new curriculum document.  This, however, inspired me to rework my units at the beginning of the year.  I team teach with history and the NJ world history curriculum has also changed slightly, starting now at a later date.  This gives me a little more wiggle room and I am planning to start my year with a thematic unit based on Joseph Campbell’s hero monomyth.  I am so excited about this.

Taking time to reflect makes me a better teacher.  It makes me seek out new ideas and keep learning.  I am a perpetual student (and if I could afford it, I would be a student forever!).  I need to reflect and research and learn and grow, or I am bored!

Will you be reflecting on your best practices and what you can improve this summer?  What are some ideas you have for next year?